Heifers jumped in price at Kyneton's monthly store cattle sale, although some regular feedlot buyers were noticeably absent.
Kieran McGrath, Rodwells, said agents yarded 740 head, with bigger steers firm to slightly cheaper.
"Smaller cattle were fully firm and dearer in places," Mr McGrath said.
"The heifer job was dearer all over, and cows and calves fetched $100-120 [a head] more."
Landmark International filled an order for smaller cattle, sending them to the north-east on agistment.
"There is plenty of feed up in the Ballarat area, they are having a fantastic season," Mr McGrath said.
Greg Dwyer, Landmark Harcourts, said stock went back locally, with other active buyers from the Ballarat and Ararat areas.
Camperdown agent Stewart Nash McVilly was also buying, he said.
Brendan Coxon, Elders, said while some of the yarding still looked "pretty wintered", cattle presented reasonably well.
"The 270kg and lighter cattle met with good competition and were equivalent to recent rates," Mr Coxon said.
"Cows and calves sold to good competition, to again achieve current market values."
Heifers made from 260-280 cents a kilogram, across all weights.
"The general trend on the better, heavier steers was cheaper; they were only making 270-285c/kg," Mr Coxon said.
"I think the lack of feedlot attendance and restricted local competition, as a result of an indifferent spring, made the difference.
"There were a couple of feedlots in attendance, but they operated very cautiously.
"A couple that are normally there didn't attend."
He said recent rain would boost confidence for next month's sale.
Martino sold 10 Angus steers, 287kg, for $920, or 320c/kg.
KS McMaster sold 12 Angus steers, 270kg, for $840, or 311c/kg.
K&L Travis sold 16 Angus steers, in store condition, for $900, or about 286c/kg.
Langley Pastoral Company's 12 Angus steers, 332kg, sold for $970, or 292c/kg.
R&M Buck's 10 Angus steers, 336kg, made $1020, or 303c/kg.
Telford sold seven Charolais steers, 453kg, for $1170, or 258c/kg.
J&M Dunn sold 12 Angus steers, 337kg, for $960, or 284c/kg.
Among the heifers, Woodlands sold a pen of 20, High Spa-blood, 300kg, for $840, or 280c/kg.
Waldon sold 15 Poll Hereford-cross heifers, 300kg, for $840, or 280c/kg.
R&M Buck's five Angus heifers, 298kg, sold for $830, or 278c/kg.
Mahon sold six Angus heifers, 297kg, for $730, or 245c/kg.
J Ellery sold five yearling heifers, 348kg, for $920, or 264c/kg.
Jerada sold cows with three-month-old calves at foot, for $1250.
Millewah Farms sold cows with calves at foot for $1340.